Tech Lands Top N.C. Athlete

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Seventy-First High School (Fayetteville, N.C.) defensive back James Hopper turned in a fantastic performance at Virginia Tech’s senior camp on Saturday. The 5-10, 180-pound rising senior ran a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash and posted a 39-inch vertical leap, among other things, in earning a scholarship offer from the Hokies. He quickly accepted, joining South Carolina prep standout Jerrodd Williams as Tech’s first two commitments from the event.

“When Virginia Tech first started recruiting me, I was open to anything,” Hopper said. “At this camp, the coaching staff was great. I felt a good vibe from them. I felt real good about it. After camp, I really made my mind up about [committing]. My parents liked the school. At the hotel, we discussed it as a family and I committed.”

Hopper is excited to be a part of a successful Virginia Tech program.

“I wanted to go to a team that wins championships,” Hopper said. “I like to be competitive. They have a lot of talent there and I’m ready to compete.”

Hopper played safety last season as a junior, racking up 88 tackles including 39 solo efforts on the season. Next season, he will be the featured running back and also will move to cornerback on defense. Virginia Tech, which is led by primary recruiter Charley Wiles, is recruiting Hopper to play cornerback.

“I was working as a cornerback in the camp,” Hopper said. “I guess I did pretty well. I did well enough to impress V-Tech. [Defensive Backs coach Torrian Gray] said he liked the way I moved.”

Last summer, Virginia Tech scored a commitment from another defensive back out of Fayetteville in former Westover star Lorenzo Williams. Williams, who went on to sign with the Hokies in February, is a player Hopper is familiar with.

“I used to go to church with him,” Hopper said. “It is a big deal that he is there. At least I’ll know somebody. He will be there before me, so he’ll be able to show me around when I get there.”

Hopper is the third commitment in Virginia Tech’s 2009 class and the first from the state of North Carolina. Last year, the Hokies scored five recruits from the Tar Heel state.